What Is Biblical Social Justice?

Day 4 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

There is an old trick reporters use whenever they get mentally stuck conducting an interview. They simply ask their subject, “What did you think this experience was going to be like and what was it actually like?” This question always produces great responses because our expectations and our reality rarely line up. The subjects often end up laughing as they consider their former naiveté which has now been replaced with sober truth.




The same is true when it comes to pursuing Biblical social justice. 


WHAT YOU THINK THIS JOURNEY IS GOING TO BE LIKE AND HOW IT WILL ACTUALLY TURN OUT ARE LIKELY TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.



Let me share a story: Many years ago, my friend Rachelle was struggling with discontentment in life. She had gone to college, gotten married, and now had a great job, but she was still left with questions that wouldn’t go away: What is my purpose? Is this all there is in life? What does God want me to do?




One day, she was driving to work and saw a billboard for a strip club. Instantly, she felt God tell her to go share his love with the women who were working there. She started doing her research and figured out there were almost two dozen strip clubs in her city. She gathered some friends and they began praying. She started imagining what it would be like to go into a club. Would the women be willing to talk with her? What would the conversations be like? Would the men try to hit on her or even assault her? Her mind began to fill with dozens of expectations.




After months of prayer, Rachelle and some friends finally went into their first strip club. The night went very different than she had anticipated. The staff at the club thought Rachelle wanted a job. The bartender thought she was crazy. The women who worked there were mostly just confused about her and her friends. The evening was not producing any meaningful interactions.



Then, God did something that Rachelle could never have anticipated. While one of her friends was speaking to her, Rachelle felt the loud music and the sound of her friend’s voice grow faint. Instead, she felt God’s voice tell her to get up and go talk to a man at a booth on the other side of the club. She stood up suddenly and walked over to a man she had never seen nor met and said, “Hello, my name is Rachelle. God has sent me here to do something kind and loving for the women working here. Can I bring them a home-cooked meal once a week?” 




WHY WOULD GOD PROMPT HER TO SAY THIS TO A STRANGER?




Unbeknown to Rachelle, God had just sent her to the perfect person to ask this question. This man was the owner of the club! Like the women that worked there, he was confused but curious about this strange woman coming into a strip club to talk about Jesus’ love. In the end, he ultimately agreed to let her bring in a meal. 


That one conversation lead to a future that Rachelle could never have imagined. Seven years later, Rachelle’s ministry has grown into one of the largest ministries in the country serving women working in the adult entertainment industry. Hundreds of volunteers make countless meals and visit almost 20 strip clubs per week in her city alone. Dozens of women who worked in the clubs have now placed their faith in Jesus and left the industry. She has even formed a network that trains and supports similar ministries in other cities. God did far more than she could have known to dream! 




Rachelle would be the first to tell you there have also been countless setbacks along the way. Many women reject the love shown to them. Many still struggle with cycles of abuse or addiction. Sometimes, funding has run short. Sometimes, women that have been living healthy lives for years suddenly fall back into their old lifestyle. But that doesn’t come as a surprise. Jesus told us we would have troubles. 




Consider John 17. Jesus healed 10 men suffering from leprosy but only 1 returns later to praise God. Here is how Jesus responds:


 

"Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'"




1 IN 10: ONLY 10% OF THE PEOPLE JESUS MINISTERED TO RESPONDED TO HIS MESSAGE WITH GENUINE FAITH IN GOD. 




If Jesus only saw 10% of people respond with genuine faith, we should not be surprised when we see similar results.



Imagine all the lives that would still be in bondage if Rachelle had decided it was too difficult to keep going. She chose to believe in God’s promises when things were hard. It’s how she got through the difficult times where her expectations were being crushed by her reality.




You, too, must keep going. 



There are hurting people that need your presence. They need the good news of Jesus in both words and deeds, in both evangelism and social action. 

ACTIVITY


Q: Who is someone God is calling you to share your faith with? Write their name. What is a simple way you could spend time with them?


Q: What is an area of social action that you could help with? How will you prioritize taking action this week?


Q: What problems do you anticipate encountering with evangelism in your life? What problems will you encounter with social justice?

PRAYER 


What internal struggles do you have about evangelism or social action? 


What external struggles do you have about evangelism or social action? 


Pray and bring these obstacles to God. Confess your burdens to him. Ask him for help. 


Pray for the person he wants you to share your faith with.